Best drinks before bed

HOT COCOA OR CHOCOLATE

A classic pre-bedtime beverage but hot cocoa isn’t to be confused with hot chocolate. Cocoa is powder without the fat from the cocoa butter whereas ‘drinking chocolate’ is shavings or pellets of chocolate melted and mixed with milk, cream or water. The drawback of hot chocolate is not just the caffeine but the sugar content.  It also contains phenylethylamine, which causes a natural high.

WARM MILK

It’s an age old remedy but calcium is known to aid restful sleep which is why many sleep experts recommend a nice warm mug of milk before bed! It is effective in stress reduction and stabilisation of nerve fibres, including those in the brain – plus the psychological link between milk and going to bed might be responsible for its sleep boosting properties.

HERBAL TEA

A herbal tea like chamomile is a better option. It is believed to have a soothing effect is probably due to the flavonoid apigenin, a secondary metabolite. Valerian and peppermint teas are also known to relax the body and soothe the stomach.

COFFEE/TEA

Avoid a coffee, black tea or green tea right before bed as the caffeine in them may be stimulating and keep you awake. However, some decaf varieties can get you into sleep mode in particular decaf green tea which contains theanine which has been proven to help reduce stress and promote more restful sleeping patterns.

NIGHTCAP

Say no to the nightcap! While alcohol can help you relax initially, it stops you from getting deep sleep – plus it leads to more awakenings in the night from dehydration and needing the loo!

CHERRY JUICE

Cherries are naturally high in melatonin, the hormone that triggers sleep and regulates your internal clock. Look for tart cherries since they have especially high amounts of melatonin and steer clear from supermarket cherry juice which are loaded with sugar.